John Donne once said, “No man is an island.” Over the years, we have seen how different communities assimilate and preserve their cultures and traditions by passing them down to future generations. Festivals probably best exemplify this sense of belongingness. Such occasions are when individuals of all ages and talents come together to showcase something extraordinary. It is safe to say, then, that so much fiesta and fanfare is best enjoyed with some company, right?
Here is a compilation of festivals across India that families can enjoy together this winter. Parents, this is a great way to initiate your kids into the extremely varied cultural milieu of India!
Image source: wikipedia.org
From November to mid-February, the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat comes alive with a carnival of dance and music. Bursts of color fill up the otherwise white lands of this region. It is a great way for the family to spend the Christmas vacation, as tents can be hired for a couple of nights as well. You can enjoy folk music and traditional dance, shop for bandhani cloth, and brave ATV rides when here.
Once the kids are off to sleep, parents can even enjoy some time together under the starry, moon-lit sky! Book hotel for Rann Utsav!
Image Source: wikipedia.org
Nagaland’s rich and diverse cultural environment is beautifully showcased at the Hornbill Festival that takes place at the Kisama Heritage Village in December every year. This is often called the ‘Festival of Festivals’, and has a lot on offer for everyone in the family. The most striking aspect is the morungs, which are traditional Naga huts with carved inscriptions.
The festival also hosts rock music concerts, beauty pageants, night markets, Naga wrestling, flower shows, and a lot more. What’s even better is that the weather is quite pleasant at this time of the year.Book best hotels near Nagaland!
Mount Abu has seen several school tours as well as honeymooners over the years. Now is your chance to experience it as a family, and what better way to do just that than to enjoy the hill station’s annual winter festival together? It is a three-day extravaganza held in the last week of December where the cultural heritage of Mt. Abu is displayed in all its glory.
Apart from traditional Rajasthani dances, you can enjoy boat races, matka races, Mehendi art, kiteflying, aero-modeling, and a unique tug-of-war which pits Indian and foreign tourists against each other! Literally lighting up your evenings are the firework shows that conclude each day’s festivities. Get amazing deals on hotels during Winter Festivals!
When a mela is happening in Rabindranath Tagore’s town, you know that you’re in for a rich cultural and artistic experience. Poush is the ninth month of the Bengali calendar, marking the beginning of harvest season. It falls during December to January. The Poush Mela is a three-day fair, which is most noted for its traditional Bengali music performances.
For a family that loves classical music, this is the place to be. The specialty of the fair is the performances by the students of Shantiniketan University. Get best family hotels in West Bengal!
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In Tibetan language, Losar refers to the New Year. A way of preparing for the upcoming year, it is celebrated by the Monpas of Tawang for eight to 15 days of the first lunar month. Losar is a time for the cleansing of not only the surroundings but also the minds of the people in Arunachal Pradesh.
Opulent decorations are put up and prayers are offered, along with dances of good wishes to ring in the coming year. When here, do not forget to greet everyone with a ‘Tashi Delek!’, which is the traditional way of saying hello. Book hotels during Losar Festival!
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The people of Malabar in Kerala believe that Theyyam is a merger of both art and life, making the two inseparable. Theyyam Festival, also known as the ‘Dance of Gods’, is celebrated in the Malabar region of Kerala from December to April. There are 400 forms of Theyyam including the Pottan, Gulikan, Nagakkani, and Mutiappan, but what is common amongst them is that they are all artistic rituals worshipping Goddess Kali.
For art-loving families and those that have budding shutterbugs, you do not want to miss this one. Book Thiruvananthapuram hotels during winter!
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Kathigai Deepam is the ‘Festival of Lights’ in Tamil Nadu and takes place between the months of November and December. It is celebrated when the moon is in alignment with the ‘Karthigai’ constellation so that the six sparkly stars appear to take the shape of a dangling earring. Almost all homes and temples are lit with lamps, which makes for a truly spectacular sight.
A unique aspect of this festival is the use of homemade firecrackers called ‘Kartikai Chutru’, which are charcoal-based hand-held rotating sparklers. So, this festival can teach you a bit about being eco-friendly too! Book best hotels during Karthigai Deepam Festival!
Mamallapuram Indian Dance Festival
Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, and Kathakali being performed against the historic setting of the Pallava Rock Sculpture -- this is one of the magnificent sights you will get to see at the Mamallapuram Indian Dance Festival. It is held annually in the town of Mahabalipuram during the months of January and February.
The most amazing thing is that all performances happen on a 13th-century open-air stage that is located by the sea, which makes this one cultural extravaganza you will not want to miss! Get best deals on hotels during Festivals!
The Cochin Carnival will be held from 26th December 2016 to 1st January 2017, which means that you can ring in the New Year with your family at this festival! It is held annually at the historic Fort Kochi.
The highlight of the festival is the New Year procession where large groups of people come out in brightly-colored clothes, singing and dancing the night away. An even more exciting element of this carnival is that elephants lead the procession! Book Cochin Hotels!
The Goa Carnival is probably the definition of fiesta and fun, to be celebrated from the 25th to the 28th of February, 2017. It is the coming together of a mélange of cultures of the state with performances and parties galore. Street shows and religious events are performed almost simultaneously here. The festival climaxes with a giant parade with performances, music, floats, and several street shows.
It is but natural that you have to join in; treat it like a baraat at a family wedding except that there are no nosey relatives here, just people out to have fun! Book goa hotels during Goa Carnival!
It is no doubt that India is a vast country with a variety of experiences on offer. This list is going to leave you spoilt for choice for your family holiday this winter. We say take it a notch ahead and keep this list handy for the years to come. Tick off a different festival every year. We have a tip that will help you finish the list faster – some of these happen one after the other. We hope you got the hint!